From Chadron State Park to the Omaha skyline, Nebraska has provided some of the most breathtaking backdrops for productions of all kinds. Just a few movies shot in Nebraska include Downsizing (coming 2017), Nebraska (2013), Lucky (2011), Elizabethtown (2005), About Schmidt (2002), and Election (1999). Thanks to the Nebraska Film Office, the Eastern Nebraska Film Office, and other organizations, productions such as these are common in the state. These organizations encourage film and video production through contests, training programs, resources, and tax incentives.
Because the state has an active film industry, artists and designers can find opportunities in film, animation, documentary film, television, and other areas similar areas. Besides an active film industry, Nebraska is home to more than 500 technology firms and hundreds of creative agencies that routinely hire animators. The state is also home to several colleges that offer programs for aspiring artists and designers. Just a few include the University of Nebraska system, Creighton University, and Union College.
Continue reading to find out which Nebraska schools offer the best program options for aspiring animators, and what to expect in the areas of employment and salary trends.
Employment and Salary Trends for Nebraska Animators
As of 2016, Nebraska was home to 11,440 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. They average $42,420, up from $37,800 in 2010 when the state was home to 11,120 ADESM professionals. Of the 11,440 people working in the creative sector here, 80 are salaried animators and multimedia artists averaging $50,240 per year. In 2010, the state was home to 70 salaried animators and multimedia artists averaging $40,440.
Nationwide, the median annual wage for animators and multimedia artists was $63,970 as of March 30, 2016 and overall employment for this group is expected to increase by six percent for the 2014-2024 decade. This is as fast as average for all occupations. It is important to note that many animators and multimedia artists are self-employed. In fact, according to the Bureau, "Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” has the second highest concentration of employment (not highest employment level) in the nation for animators and multimedia artists.
This means it’s safe to assume that Nebraska has a much larger population of animators and multimedia artists. Further, "Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” typically earn more than their salaried counterparts. According to the BLS, they average $70,080 per year.
The top five highest paying states for animators and multimedia artists are:
- California ($82,810)
- Washington ($80,460)
- Connecticut ($77,860)
- Massachusetts ($74,440)
- District of Columbia ($74,230)
The industries with the highest concentration of employment for animators and multimedia artists are:
- Motion Picture and Video industries
- Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers
- Software Publishers
- Cable and Other Subscription Programming
- Specialized Design Services
The industries with the highest levels of employment are:
- Motion Picture and Video industries
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services
- Software Publishers
- Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
- Other Information Services
The top paying industries for animators and multimedia artists are:
- Travel Arrangement and Reservation Services ($85,750)
- Other Information Services ($82,940)
- Software Publishers ($76,920)
- Professional Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers ($75,540)
- Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers ($74,960)
The states with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are California, Georgia, New York, Texas, and Washington.
Animation Career Opportunities in Nebraska
As mentioned, Nebraska is home to a variety of creative agencies and technology companies, as well as PR firms, production studios, academic institutions, and other places that may hire animators. Just a few options include:
- Agent, Lincoln
- Archrival, Lincoln
- Bailey Lauerman, Omaha
- Bozell, Omaha
- Envoy, Inc., Omaha
- Heartland Marketing and Communications, Bellevue
- InFlight Productons, Omaha
- June Advertising, Omaha
- Mint Design Group, Omaha
- OBI Creative, Omaha
- OnPxl, Omaha
- Outpost12 Studios, Lincoln
- SKAR Advertising, Omaha
- Swanson Russell, Lincoln
- The Minnow Project, Lincoln
- Unanimous, Lincoln
While Nebraska’s largest cities may offer more opportunities, several other cities besides Omaha and Lincoln are worth exploring. Consider Bellevue, Grand Island, Kearney, Fremont, Hastings, and Norfolk.
Nebraska Animation Training Programs
One of Nebraska’s most popular schools for aspiring animators is the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Here, students can earn a BFA in Film & New Media with a focus in Computer Animation. Another excellent option is Creighton University, Omaha. The school offers a BA in Graphic Design and Media, which highlights animation studies, interactive multimedia, video and still photography, web design, and typography. Another option is Bellevue University, which offers a BS in Game Studies that features game animation coursework.
More Animation related programs to consider:
Awesome Animation Fact: Voice actor Peter Cullen was the first actor to voice Optimus Prime in the original Transformers cartoon (1980s) and he also voiced OP in Transformers (2007), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), and the Transformers: War for Cybertron video game. The 72 year-old Canadian is also the voice behind Eeyore in the Winnie-the-Pooh series and he was the very first actor to voice Nintendo’s Mario.